The FBI has announced a plan to spend $1 billion to build a new type of facial recognition database that will allow the agency to identify suspects and people of interest using security footage from public cameras.
Technically, the Next-Generation Identification program (NGI) is an update to the FBI’s national fingerprint database. Government agencies will now start using a person’s face, along with other biometric data like DNA analysis, iris scans, and voice identification, to determine a person’s identity. In other words, if you have a criminal record, the police will no longer simply take your fingerprints and snap a mugshot; they’ll keep a record accurate enough to let them pick you out of crowd anywhere you go.
Symantec has published a report claiming that for several years nearly 100,000 Facebook apps have been leaking access codes belonging to millions of users’ profiles.
Symantec’s report says that an app security flaw may have given advertisers and other third parties access to Facebook users’ profiles, though a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that there is “no evidence” of this occurring.
We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage. We estimate that over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties.
Symantec compares these “access tokens” to spare keys that let apps interact with your profile.
Sony has finally come clean about the “external intrusion” that has caused the company to take down the PlayStation Network service, and the news is almost as bad as it can possibly get. The hackers have all your personal information, although Sony is still unsure about whether your credit card data is safe. Everything else on file when it comes to your account is in the hands of the hackers.
In other words, Sony’s security has failed in a spectacular fashion, and we’re just now finding out about it. In both practical and PR terms, this is a worst-case scenario.
The story should be that we’re smart enough to ensure that identity verification isn’t done by a single company. I avoided Google ID’s, and then the Facebook connect, for a long time out of fears of being tracked, but privacy concerns eventually gave way to ease of use, and now I love the convenience. Will you be signing up?
It was now interested in a question of particular concern to social-media experts and marketers: Is it possible not only to infiltrate social networks, but also to influence them on a large scale?
The group invited three teams to program “social bots”—fake identities—that could mimic human conversation on Twitter, and then picked 500 real users on the social network, the core of whom shared a fondness for cats. The Kiwis armed JamesMTitus with a database of generic responses (“Oh, that’s very interesting, tell me more about that”) and designed it to systematically test parts of the network for what tweets generated the most responses, and then to talk to the most responsive people.
Today, Facebook rolled out a new commenting system for blogs and third-party sites. We’ve implemented it here on TechCrunch, and after a few hours of the system being live it is obvious that it has its share of pros and cons. Readers have certainly noticed, and there is already a ton debate about whether this is good or bad for the Internet.
It is certainly not perfect. Facebook comments don’t support Twitter or Google logins. It doesn’t yet allow sites to archive their comments to make backups (although an API for that is forthcoming I am told), and switching away from Facebook comments after a few months on the system looks like it will be a hassle (data portability anyone?). Some corporations block Facebook, which kills it as a commenting system for that subset of users. In one fell swoop it could hurt Disqus, which is a great startup that’s been perfecting its commenting system for years. And there are lots of little bugs we’ve noticed that hopefully will be fixed soon (we were manually moderating every comment on TechCrunch until a few minutes ago, and you still can’t see a comment count at the top of each post like you could before).
Once again, I’m flabbergasted that Facebook would design a system to allow importing all of a blog’s users into a Facebook-connected framework, without offering the same kind of reciprocity, including data backups and control over the display. They are sliding down such a slippery slope…